St. Luke's Heart Transplant Program
Post-discharge and follow-up care
Immunosuppressive medications must be taken daily for the rest of the patient's life to prevent rejection of the heart. These are powerful drugs with many possible side effects. Patients begin taking immunosuppressives in the hospital just before surgery, and their course of therapy is fine-tuned in the weeks and months to follow.
During the transplant follow-up phase, which continues for life, patients visit the Transplant Clinic regularly to keep them free of infection and rejection. Visits are more frequent during the first year of the transplant and gradually decrease in subsequent years. Follow-up care may include blood tests, radiological studies and biopsies to check for signs of potential problems.
Visits with the transplant physician and transplant nurse coordinator involve physical exams, medication management, patient education and support. To avoid unnecessary travel, patients who live in another community can arrange to have their blood and lab work done through their primary care physician and sent to St. Luke's.
Patients also need to continue to see their primary care doctor for medical concerns that are unrelated to the transplant.
To learn more, click here or call 414-646-5410.